Over 200 students from 28 high schools in the region convened on campus for the annual High Plains Band and Choir Festival this week.
Guest conductor Dr. Mark Simmons commented that the quality of performances and the work ethic exhibited by the festival attendees is a testament to the work of their music educators and evidence that there is a dedication to the arts in the school systems of Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota.
“I thank all of you for your support. It matters,” said Simmons. It was his second time as the guest conductor at the festival.
He told the crowd that his home state of Tennessee was soft, complaining because it was 30 degrees, above zero. The Memorial Hall Auditorium was almost full in spite of a below zero wind chill.
Sara Schmidt, CSC alumna and Hemingford Public Schools K-12 music director, brought four students to the event which she attended all four years when she was a Chadron High School student.
“This is a great opportunity for the students to play next to more advanced students and in a large group. It lets them see what’s out there and then go back and encourage the younger kids to look forward to attending the festival,” Schmidt said.
Dr. Una Taylor, CSC music department chair and associate professor told the audience attending the final concert Tuesday evening, “I can’t tell you how pleased I am with this group. I wasn’t sure we would be able to perform all the pieces we planned, but the girls have focused and we are doing all five.”
The women’s choir, directed by Taylor, performed one German and one Spanish number, a feat which Taylor commended.
Dr. Sid Shuler said it was joy for him to rehearse with the honor band and added that they “stepped up” to tackle some challenging pieces.
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